(Sh.M.Network)- Dutch parliament has agreed to expand involvement in theNATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Originally it was a mutual defense pact directed against an expansionist Soviet Union. In later years it evolved into a mechanism for picking the American pocket while criticizing the cut of the American pants... operation Ocean Shield, targeting piracy in Somali waters. But ships wanting to hire private security forces to give them extra protection will not be allowed to do so.
The Netherlands will send extra personnel, two Cougar helicopters and an unmanned plane to the region. Meeting a NATO request, the Netherlands will also send a submarine to join the mission in the second half of 2012.
The additional involvement aims for intelligence-gathering and will cost 13 million euros.
The Dutch government says the aim is to help detect piracy early on and prevent the escalation of violence. The pirates are well organized, have substantial financial backing and operate from well-equipped mother ships supplied from camps along the Somali coast.
Their main targets are merchant ships and aid convoys (food and otherwise). At least 59 merchant ships were attacked last year; 13 of them were actually hijacked.
Private security forces
On Tuesday, Dutch insurance companies backed an earlier appeal by ship owners to allow merchant ships to hire private protection forces. They claim the Dutch naval forces are underequipped to protect all ships passing through theGulf of Adenand have previously declined requests for protection.
They add that even if the Dutch navy is able to provide protection, it would cost twice as much. Dutch merchant ships have already resorted to sailing under the flag of foreign countries that do allow private security forces, according to the insurance companies.
Minister of defence Hans Hillen acknowledged the high cost of protection, but said there was little he could do. According to him: "All armed organizations have to fall under the state's responsibility to ensure accuracy and proportional measures.
Therefore, the ministry of defence cannot allow private armed security forces to operate in the area. The high cost of naval protection is mainly the result of high fuel costs, due to the elevated speed of most vessels.
We could cut down on the costs if we moved at a slower pace, but that would also mean we're an easier target."
The minister announced that naval protection would increase from 50 cases to 175 in 2013.
Defence, diplomacy and development
Although all parties backed the proposal, Dutch Democratic Party D66 and green left party Groen Links stressed that military intervention was mainly a treatment of the symptoms, not a cure for the problem itself.
"Defence is only one of the 3 Ds. In order to find a long-term solution, we will need to invest in diplomacy and development as well," remarked Arjan El Fassed of the Green Party.
Minister of foreign affairs Uri Rosenthal said the Netherlands is contributing to the stabilisation of the area, notably by investing in the reconstruction of the rule of law and detention capacity.
The European Union ...the successor to the Holy Roman Empire, only without the Hapsburgs and the nifty uniforms and the dancing... counter-piracy mission Operation Atalanta has been declared "controversial" by the Dutch parliament and will only be discussed after parliamentary elections in September.
Operation Atalanta would have allowed Dutch troops to attack logistical camps along the coastline from sea or air.OperationOceanShield does not have that mandate.
This mission is being led by Dutch commodore Ben Bekkering, who assumed command last week from Turkish rear admiral Sinan Azmi Tosun.
The issue of private security forces will be discussed further in a separate debate later this week.
You know, as a live-fire FTX, fighting pirates ain't too bad. Least you'll know who freaks out and who keeps his head. Move them around accordingly.
I gather Rumsfeld encouraged NATO to send their specops guys to Astan for the experience of it.
So, all in all, maybe NATO is getting just a touch of experience.
I'm all for attaking pirates and think every nation should send a boat or two for live fire practice but realistically we're gonna need to smash some stuff along the shore to really end the pirates.
[Al Ahram] The Head of the Egypt's Constitutional Court Farouk Sultan said that Thursday's court rulings have been issued in the state's Official Journal and are thus enforceable.
However, alcohol has never solved anybody's problems. But then, neither has milk... Sultan said that the Constitutional court does not have the authority to implement its verdicts, in case parliament does not suspend its activities in response, and that implementation is within the powers of the executive authorities, which are currently at the command of SCAF.
Egypt's High Constitutional Court on Thursday ruled that the Political Disenfranchisement Law, which had been referred to it by the Presidential Elections Commission, was unconstitutional. In the same session, the court found the election of one third of parliamentary seats, reserved for individual candidates, unconstitutional.
On the other hand, Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Salafist Al-Nour party figure Ashraf Thabet said that parliament will hold its Tuesday plenary as normal, denying that parliament will hold an emergency session upon the ruling.
He further said that parliament will be discussing its legal options following the ruling since it only concerns one third of its members.
As though unfazed by the ruling, the parliamentary secretariat distributed the periodical agenda of the parliamentary committees' activities, which start on 18 June.
[Yemen Post] Thousands of Yemeni people poured onto the streets of the capital Sanaa, in a demonstration which marked a new era of the popular uprising amid ongoing demolition of the protest camps across the republic.
For the first time since the uprising erupted in early 2011, the demonstration passed through areas including the presidential zone and other places which have been very dangerous since loyalists of the ex-regime have been stationed there to crack down on revolutionaries.
The people gathered on Taiz Street and walked passing through many streets chanting 'freedom and dignity slogans'.
They carried the flags of Yemen and Syria
and rolled their eyes, jumped up and down, and hollered poorly rhymed slogans real loud: the people want to prosecute the serial killer, referring to the ex-leader, Saleh; and 'the people want to build a new Yemen'.
They also rolled their eyes, jumped up and down, and hollered poorly rhymed slogans real loud in solidarity with the Syrian people, who have been struggling to oust the Assad regime for more than one year.
Yes, but the Egyptians have been struggling to...whatever it is. Surely they deserve sympathetic hollered slogans as well.
The Yemeni parties signed in November a West-backed power-transfer deal, which saw Saleh relinquish power after 33 years in office and after almost nine months of protests against his rule.
Saleh signed the deal in return for full immunity from prosecution over administrative and financial corruption and his aides were given immunity from prosecution, but not from terrorism-related issues.
Locals in some areas warmly welcomed the protesters and poured waters and sweets over them, chanting together: corrupt officials must go out and free people must build a new Yemen.
The protesters held a sit-in at the republican palace in downtown Sanaa, not far from the change square, and rolled their eyes, jumped up and down, and hollered poorly rhymed slogans real loud blessing the victory of the forces against Al-Qaeda beturbanned goons in Abyan ...a governorate of Yemen. The region was a base to the Aden-Abyan Islamic Army terrorist group until it dropped the name and joined al-Qaeda. Its capital is Zinjibar. In March 2011, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula declared the governate an Islamic Emirate after seizing control of the region. The New York Times fastidiously reported that those in control, while Islamic hard boyz, are not in fact al-Qaeda, but something else that looks, tastes, smells, and acts the same. Yemeni government forces launched an effort to re-establish control of the region when President-for-Life Saleh was tossed and the carnage continues... province.
The Yemeni army on Tuesday waged fierce battles against Al-Qaeda beturbanned goons forcing them from their last strongholds in Abyan after months of a US-backed offensive.
[Yemen Post] The newly-appointed Central Security Forces (CSF) commander Gen. Fadhal al-Qawsi vowed that al-Qaeda will not be able to infiltrate the army lines and carry out suicide kabooms again, revealing his intentions to revamp and improve the CSF performance.
In an interview published on Thursday with the state-run 26 Sep Newspaper, he said that Infiltrating the security forces lines by al-Qaeda in al-Sabeen deadly suicide kaboom which left more than 100 soldiers killed was a major setback but stressed, "that does not mean that they will be able to infiltrate our forces again."
Al-Qawsi revealed that he has a program aimed at improving the CSF performance in accordance with regional and international standards and that he seeks to obtain helicopters for his key military unit.
He pointed out that he is going to conduct a comprehensive, evaluative study of the CSF performance in order to find out the measures which should be taken in order to overcome its weaknesses and improve it.
Asked how he will deal with protests, he replied, "I will fulfill my duty and never take sides. The era of affiliation is over. I'm only affiliated with, and owe allegiance to Yemen."
Speaking about al-Sabeen suicide kaboom, al-Qawsi said that the investigation is still underway and that it will not stop unit the perpetrators are declared and brought to justice.
He concluded with hailing the politicianship led by President Abdurabu Mansour Hadi ...the second and possibly the last president of Yemen, successor to former President-for-Life Ali Abdullah Saleh... , saying he takes pride in the current leadership and receives full support from it.
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov says militant emissary Akhmed Zakayev wants to return from the UK to Chechnya, but he depends on foreign special services and on self-exiled billionaire Boris Berezovsky.
According to Kadyrov, Zakayev, who currently lives in London, had sought a telephone conversation through different channels. The Chechen government's website quoted Kadyrov as saying, "During our conversation he kept saying that he was thrilled about changes in Chechnya and tearfully begged to help him return to Russia."
However, Zakayev is competely under the control of special services and cannot travel anywhere without their knowledge, Kadyrov stated. He added, "Apparently, he would like to return home, but his 'masters' shouted and he was left speechless."
In addition, the Chechen fugitive depends on Russian tycoon Berezovsky, who has also found shelter in the UK. Kadyrov contended, "This is a widely known fact. Zakayev cannot make a single step without [Berezovsky's] knowledge."
Kadyrov called Zakayev "a coward" and "a hypocrite." The Chechen leader said, "During our phone conversation he called me 'brother.'...He said he wanted to become my friend and ally. Behind my back, though, he makes completely different statements."
Zakayev and his family "live in clover" in London, getting "good support from his sponsors."
"And yet he has the cheek to call on the Chechen people to take up arms and come out against the legitimate power," Kadyrov observed.
Akhmed Zakayev is the Chechen militant envoy and the former self-proclaimed prime minister of "Independent Chechnya-Ichkeria". He was granted asylum in Britain in 2003.
In Russia he is accused in a number of serious crimes including terrorism and murder. Moscow has sought his extradition for over a decade now, but the UK has repeatedly refused the request.
North Korea appointed Lt. Gen. Kim Rak-gyom as head of its Strategic Rocket Force ahead of a Workers Party meeting in April, it was revealed Thursday. The Strategic Rocket Force oversees all of North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile facilities.
"According to a source, North Korea revamped its Strategic Rocket Force and appointed Kim Rak-gyom as its head, replacing Choi Sang-ryo," said Chung Sung-jang of the Sejong Institute.
Kim was the only lieutenant general to be elected to the party's Central Military Commission in April, a move which appears to reflect the importance of the command within the armed forces. North Korean leader Suet Face Kim Jong-un in a speech on April 15 addressed the "bold soldiers of the People's Army, Navy, Air Force and Strategic Rocket Force."
The U.S. Forces Korea has proposed keeping an artillery brigade just north of Seoul to respond swiftly to North Korean batteries lined up along the border, despite an original plan to pull forces back south of the capital.
"The USFK has offered to keep the 210th Fires Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division at its present base" in Dongducheon, Gyeonggi Province rather than move it south to a new base in Pyeongtaek with the rest of the USFK, a government source said Thursday. It was to move by 2016.
The source said the USFK now feels it would be difficult to respond swiftly to a North Korean artillery attack on Seoul from the border if the brigade is moved.
Equipped with 30 multiple launch rocket systems, the brigade is tasked with attacking North Korea's long-range artillery and mechanized units in case of an emergency. If it stays in Dongducheon, only the combat and aviation brigades of the 2nd Infantry Division will move south to Pyeongtaek.
I wouldn't mind seeing a reverse apology tour. I agree with Ebbang Uluque on that one. Lets see how some face saving cultures respond when they are forced to publicly apologize or risk their relationship with the US.
(Sh.M.Network)- The frequent CIA drone attacks on terrorist safe havens in countries like Paks widely opposed around the world but not in India, US and UK, according to a recent survey on America's image abroad.
In the vast majority of nations polled, there is considerable opposition to theUS drone campaign against beturbanned goon leaders and organizations.
In 17 of 20 countries, more than half disapprove of theUSconducting drone missile strikes to target Orcs and similar vermin in places such as Pakistain,Yemen and Somalia.
The policy is unpopular in majority Mohammedan nations, but also in Europeand other regions as well.
Indeed, at least three-in-four hold this view in a diverse set of countries: Greece(90 per cent),Egypt (89),Jordan(85),Turkey(81),Spain(76),Brazil(76) and Japan(75). The three outliers on this issue are India,Britannia, and theUSitself.
Indians who have an opinion tend to support American drone strikes (32 per cent approve, 21 disapprove), but nearly half (47) do not offer a view on this question.
Meanwhile, ...back at the sea battle, the Terror of the Baltic's career had come to an abrupt and watery end... the British are almost evenly divided (44 per cent approve, 47 disapprove), the survey said.
Americans largely support the drone attacks: 62 per cent approve; just 28 disapprove.
Across much of the EU, there is a significant ideological gap on this question. For example, a majority (56 per cent) of those who describe themselves as being on the political right in Britannia favor US drone strikes against beturbanned goons, but just 31 on the left agree, the survey said.
A similar gap emerges inLa Belle France, where about half of those on the right (49 per cent) approve of the drone attacks, compared with about one-quarter (26) among people on the left. Double-digit differences are also found inItalia, the Czech Republic and Germany.
[Iran Press TV] Pakistain renews call on the United States to apologize for the US-led forces' killing of 24 Pak soldiers last year.
Speaking to news hounds in the Afghan capital Kabul on Thursday, Pak Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said Islamabad will not consider reopening the border crossings used to transfer supplies to the US-led forces deployed in Afghanistan, Rooters reported.
From October 2001 to November 2011, Pak routes used to serve as the main passageways for the transfer of supplies to the NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A collection of multinational and multilingual and multicultural armed forces, all of differing capabilities, working toward a common goal by pulling in different directions... forces.
Islamabad closed the border crossings after the Pak soldiers were killed in the US-led aerial assaults on two checkpoints on the Afghan border on November 26.
Khar said the country will keep the crossings closed unless the US makes an unconditional apology for the attacks and reassures Pakistain that such incidents will never happen again.
She also denied reports that the closure of the supply routes are due to haggling over transportation fees with the US.
INDIAN DEFENCE FORUM > [News Tribe] US VIOLATES PAKISTAN COAST, USS ENTERPRISE DOCKED NEAR GAWADAR, BALOCHISTAN | US VIOLATES INTERNATIONAL LAWS, MOVES USS ENTERPRISE [CVN-65]INTO PAKISTANI WATERS NEAR BALOCHISTAN.
* RELATED PAKISTAN TODAY > US DEPLOYS ITS BIGGEST AIRCRAFT CARRIER NEAR GAWADAR | US MOVES USS ENTERPRISE INTO PAKISTANI WATERS.
HHHMMMMM, HMMMMMM, so besides Pakistan, the "Big E" is incidentally where IRAN also wants US CVNS + Amphibs, etc. to be???
* TOPIX > PAKISTAN DEMANDS UNCONDITIONAL APOLOGY FROM US BEFORE SUPPLY ROUTES ARE REOPENED.
* DEFENCE.PK/FORUMS > PAKISTAN NOT "GOUGING" US OVER AFGHAN SUPPLY ROUTES: KHAR | PAKISTAN NOT "GOUGING" OVER NATO SUPPLY ROUTES: KHAR.
* SAME > REHMAN: LACK OF US APOLOGY DELAYS OPENING OF SUPPLY ROUTES.
* SAME > [PressTV] PAKISTANI PRESIDENT [Zardari] TELLS US [CoDel] OF PAKISTANIS' ANGER [frustration, disgust] OVER DRONE STRIKES.
* SAME > ELEMENTS OTHER THAT APOLOGY KEEPS GLOCS CLOSED: PANETTA [to US Senate Sub-Committee]. US HAS ALREADY APOLOGIZED [expressed Regrets] FOR SALALA INCIDENT.
IIUC, Islamabad + Soldiers' families want US compensation = $$$.
[Iran Press TV] The Lebanese Hezbollah has condemned recent deadly kabooms in Iraq which claimed the lives of 80 people and maimed over 300 across the country, Press TV reports.
"The terrorist machine brought about a bloody day in the streets of Iraqi cities. It planted death and destruction, leaving many innocent civilians killed as they were in their homes, at their work or on a visit to the holy sites," Hezbollah said in a statement released on Thursday.
The Lebanese resistance movement added that the massacres "committed by the enemies of the Iraqi people" were aimed at toppling the Iraqi government and escalating sectarian tensions among the Iraqi people and "breaking up the Iraqi entity in order to serve the Western and Israeli schemes."
A strong democratic government in Iraq and economic/political stability are in the best interests of the US and Israel.
Memo to the State Department:
please note the perception filters on those that oppose the best interests of the US in the region, playing nice doesn't change their brainwashed perception of Israel and the US. A rational person would pose that Israel offers more stability in the region than that festering fever swamp of nuttiness in the Gaza and West Bank.
Posted by: Bill Clinton ||
Former spokesperson of the Moro rebels, Eid Kabalu has made a complete turnaround to become a "peace consultant" of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Kabalu was the mouthpiece of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for more than 10 years and was the most accessible rebel official whenever major clashes between the rebel group and the military occurred, including the "all-out war" declared in 2000 by then President Joseph Estrada.
Kabulu said, "My joining the AFP was of my own volition. I'm here on a mission of peace, and I believe working to attain that elusive peace in Mindanao is an individual responsibility."
The military hunted down Kabalu and other top MILF leaders in the aftermath of rebel attacks on civilian communities in 2008 after the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional a proposed Bangsamoro homeland deal to end the MILF rebellion.
The MILF Central Committee suspended Kabalu for his alleged involvement in the 2010 general elections. He resigned from the MILF last year before its top leaders could expel him for talking to local politicians about his desire to be a nominee for acting chair of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. President Benigno Aquino eventually appointed another man to the post.
Major General Rey Ardo, commander of the Army's 6th Infantry Division, said Kabalu volunteered to help the military in its peace efforts. Colonel Roy Galido, commander of the Army's 40th Infantry Battalion, said the former rebel spokesperson "can be an effective reconciliatory asset for the AFP."
Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu said, "He could be an effective helping hand in resolving rido (feuds) among Moro clans, some of whom happen to be MILF members involved in political and land ownership squabbles."
While Kabalu's act was praised by the government side, the MILF downplayed his decision to work with the military. It does "not augur well with his personality," said Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF political affairs chief. But then, Jaafar said he hoped Kabalu could help the situation in Mindanao.
Kabalu said he did not turn his back on the Moro struggle. He said, "Now, working as a mainstream peace missionary, my position would be no armed confrontation or violence. I am for a peaceful resolution of the decades-old Mindanao conflict."
[An Nahar] Sectarian bloodshed has displaced tens of thousands of people in Myanmar, left dozens dead and many homes destroyed in western Rakhine state, a bigwig said Thursday.
Twenty-nine people -- 16 Moslems and 13 Buddhists -- have been killed since Friday, with scores more maimed and nearly 2,600 homes burned, said Htein Lin, security and border affairs minister for Rakhine.
The toll does not include 10 Moslems beaten to death on June 3 by a Buddhist mob in apparent Dire Revenge™ for the rape and murder of a woman, which sparked the violence.
Nearly 31,900 people from both sides are being housed in 37 camps across Rakhine, Htein Lin said at the first presser by officials in the state capital Sittwe since widespread rioting began on Friday.
Hla Thein, Rakhine state chief justice, said that "nobody won, nobody benefited" from the violence.
"What we got was refugees," he added. "Everyone has a duty to prevent this happening again... but it's very difficult to talk about peace when both sides don't really trust each other."
The Buddhist Rakhine and Moslem Rohingya have accused each other of violent attacks, and in recent days local residents have been seen on the streets wielding knives, swords and sticks.
[Bangla Daily Star] The Myanmar government has conveyed its anxiety to the Bangladesh mission there that the Jamaat-e-Islami ...The Islamic Society, founded in 1941 in Lahore by Maulana Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, aka The Great Apostosizer. The Jamaat opposed the independence of Bangladesh but has operated an independent branch there since 1975. It maintains close ties with international Mohammedan groups such as the Moslem Brotherhood. the Taliban, and al-Qaeda. The Jamaat's objectives are the establishment of a pure Islamic state, governed by Sharia law. It is distinguished by its xenophobia, and its opposition to Westernization, capitalism, socialism, secularism, and liberalist social mores... had been helping the Rohingya groups in Bangladesh with arms to incite sectarian festivities in Myanmar.
Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said this in a statement in parliament yesterday.
"For the sake of its national security, Bangladesh will not allow any more Rohingya in," she said.
Referring to appeals from different human rights ...which are usually open to widely divergent definitions... bodies and non-government organizations to allow the Rohingyas to enter Bangladesh, Dipu Moni said Dhaka was not a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol.
"Therefore, under no convention or protocol are we obliged to shelter the Rohingyas.
"Although we are not bound by any international laws, considering our experience of the 1971 [Liberation War], we have been sheltering the Rohingyas on humanitarian grounds," she told the House.
Remembering Bangladesh refugees taking shelter in India during the Liberation War, she said, "We have never forgotten it and that's why Bangladesh always extends its helping hands when such incidents take place."
"In 1971, there was a war going on in Bangladesh. There was mass killing, looting and rape taking place.... We are grateful that the Indira Gandhi government and the people of India stood beside the Bangladesh refugees."
But Myanmar's situation is not similar to that of Bangladesh in 1971, she added.
"The situation is not as if the Rohingya people have no place to go. We ourselves face many problems. We have allowed many Rohingyas to live in our country and we do not want to add to our problems by allowing more of them in.
"The country [Myanmar] is not forcing its citizens to leave the country. This is a sectarian clash in which the state is not involved. The Myanmar government is rather working to resolve the problem," she added.
US President Barack Obama spoke to Saudi King Abdullah on Thursday, as regional diplomacy intensifies over Syria's escalating civil war and Iran's nuclear programme. The White House declined to give details of the conversation, or to say exactly which issues Obama and Abdullah discussed.
"The two leaders reaffirmed the strong and enduring bilateral relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia," said a statement issued by Obama's press secretary Jay Carney.
And how useful it would be if the Saudis kept oil prices down between now and the election, perhaps.
The two leaders also discussed "a range of issues of mutual interest as part of their ongoing consultations," a White House statement said.
Well, the House of Saud's salafists don't like Syria or Iran, so that's one common interest. And then there's the mutual dislike of Israel to keep things collegial...
Saudi Arabia has said that regional states should provide the means for Syria's opposition forces to defend themselves against the onslaught from President Bashar al-Assad's forces.
And to be positioned to block Iran in any coming conflict? I am skeptical that the Arabs would risk their own lives, but on the other hand the opportunity to position troops to block both Iran and the Shiite Iraqis might be sufficiently tempting.
Washington is reluctant to send in arms, citing the uncertain motives and organisation of disparate Syrian opposition groups, but has been providing communications equipment and medical aid to the rebels.
Iran has criticised Saudi Arabia for increasing its oil output this year to make up for a shortfall in Iranian crude resulting from US and European Union sanctions to punish Tehran for its nuclear program.
So the Chinese may be sufficiently happy to stay out of things for a while?
The call between Obama and the king took place ahead of the next round of nuclear talks between Iran and international powers in Moscow next week.
Ties between the Obama administration and the Saudi government were strained during the height of Arab spring protests last year, but senior US officials say they have since recovered, as the allies confront a common challenge from Iran.
Well, that and the fact that Netanyahu is getting antsy.
[Dawn] Amnesia Amnesty International on Thursday accused Syria of committing crimes against humanity to punish communities supporting rebels, as monitors reported a spate of car booms and festivities which killed dozens more people.
The London-based rights group called for an international response after claiming it had fresh evidence that victims, including children, had been dragged from their homes and rubbed out by soldiers, who in some cases then set the remains on fire.
"This disturbing new evidence of an organised pattern of grave abuses highlights the pressing need for decisive international action," said Amnesty's Donatella Rovera on the release of the 70-page report entitled Deadly Reprisals.
The advocacy group interviewed people in 23 towns and villages across Syria and concluded that government forces and militias were guilty of "grave human rights ...which are usually open to widely divergent definitions... violations and serious violations of international humanitarian law amounting to crimes against humanity and war crimes."
[An Nahar] Syrian opposition groups are to meet in a bid to settle their differences, as the violence in their country threatens to descend into civil war, sources among the groups said Thursday.
Senior members of the main opposition, Syrian National Council (SNC), Kurdish National Council, and smaller groups such as one led by tribal chief Nawaf al-Bashir will meet in Istanbul Friday and Saturday, they said.
"It is kind of a last call to join us," a SNC source said, speaking on condition of anonymity ... for fear of being murdered...
The bid to iron out their differences comes ahead of a major conference organized by opposition groups in Cairo under the auspices of the Arab League ...an organization of Arabic-speaking states with 22 member countries and four observers. The League tries to achieve Arab consensus on issues, which usually leaves them doing nothing but a bit of grimacing and mustache cursing... , at a date to be announced.
The newly elect head of SNC, Kurdish activist Abdel Basset Sayda, said as he took office last Sunday that his priority was to unify the opposition.
[Iran Press TV] The US and NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A collection of multinational and multilingual and multicultural armed forces, all of differing capabilities, working toward a common goal by pulling in different directions... have launched a war on Syria by funding and training the gun-hung tough guys who commit Houla-style massacres in the Arab country, an analyst tells Press TV.
He added that the US-backed coalition is staging a "massive casualty-producing event" in Syria, namely the killing of civilians and blaming it on the enemy.
The historical origins of the "massive casualty-producing event" go back to "Operation Northwoods," an infamous 1962 Pentagon Plan, consisting of killing civilians in the Miami Cuban community, with a view to justifying a war on Cuba.
"The plans were developed as ways to trick the American public and the international community into supporting a war to oust Cuba's then new leader, communist Fidel Castro," abcnews.com reported on May 1, 2001.
On May 25, 108 people were killed in a massacre in the town of Houla, in the volatile central province of Homs in Syria.
Less than two weeks later, a second massacre took place in the central village of al-Qubeir in the Hama Province.
Chossudovsky added that it is not coincidental that the US is threatening China in the South China Sea and is also threatening Russia on its European borders.
"These threats are there in a sense to convince the Russians and the Chinese that they should toe the line; it's a blackmailing process," he said.
"But I should emphasize that if any kind of broader military action were to take place against Syria this could lead to escalation and become a regional war, which would extend from the Eastern Mediterranean right through to Central Asia and the Western Frontier," Chossudovsky concluded.